'It's not every day you pōwhiri Bob Marley’s son into the country' - Kaitātaki

By Jessica Tyson

Jamaican reggae musician Julian Marley was welcomed with a pōwhiri at the Auckland Airport today, exactly 40 years after his father, Bob Marley, also received a Māori welcoming in 1979.

The 43-year-old is visiting as part of his New Zealand tour with reggae group, The Uprising, set to perform at East Coast Vibes.

Aotearoa Entertainment Limited tour manager Kath Parkinson organised the powhiri and says Marley was hesitant at the beginning.

“But as soon as it started, he remembered it from his dad and he felt sort of more relaxed, she says.

“He acknowledged what the kaikōrero was saying, all in te reo, so I don’t know how he understood that but he took it really, really well and was comfortable with it.”

Julian Marley and Kaitātaki Chassy Kani. 

Kapa haka Ngā Mauri Taniwha ki Uta were invited to perform the pōwhiri.

Kaitātaki Chassy Kani was at Marley’s side throughout the welcoming, explaining to him what each part of the pōwhiri meant.

“He was very humbled by the experience and a lot of nodding going on. And in our culture that means ‘Āe, we’re doing good, that’s good’ so I think he enjoyed it,” says Kani.

Kapa haka Ngā Mauri Taniwha ki Uta with Julian Marley.

She says she got the call on Monday asking her group to perform.

“So we had to get our head around it real quick. It's not every day you powhiri Bob Marley’s son into the country so it was a big deal for us, she says.

“We’re a very new group. We’ve only been going for about a year and a half and this is probably the biggest haka pōwhiri we’ve done.”

The musicians will perform in Whangarei and Manukau before travelling to Gisborne to feature at East Coast Vibes from January 11 to 12.